Parenting - Budgeting - feeding your family Parenting - Budgeting - feeding your family

Feeding your family on a budget

There’s no doubt that feeding the family eats up a significant portion of any family’s budget. Saving money can seem a distant ideal when the cost of groceries seem to increase every week, while your kids continue to get bigger and eat more! But with the cost of everything from home loan interest rates to electricity on the up, it makes sense to save money where you can. And it’s surprisingly easy to cut the cost of feeding your family once you have a little know-how.

In the kitchen

Slashing the cost of feeding your family begins at home. The truth is that it’s a lot cheaper to cook for the family than it is to order take-aways or dine out. There are plenty of magazines and websites around to help you find recipes. With a few basic techniques on your side, you’ll be good to go!

A few tips & tricks:

  • Plan your menus: While working out what you’re eating a week in advance isn’t very exciting, you’ll find it thrilling when you have everything you need on hand to create a meal.

  • Think about leftovers: Again, the excitement rating is low, but leftovers are a mom’s best friend. A night off cooking, without having to order in? What a pleasure!

  • Audit your pantry: By knowing exactly what you have in store,and writing a list, you’ll find that you’re buying less at the supermarket.

  • Cook once, make two meals: Think about meals that do double-duty to help keep costs down and interest levels high. A sauce can be eaten with rice one night, and then poured over yam the next.

  • Try meat-alternatives: Don’t forget eggs, vegetables, lentils and rice. These ingredients are relatively inexpensive and can be used to stretch meals a long way. If meat is on the menu every night, it can get expensive. Show the family they can live without it for a night or two and cut your food bills.

  • Use your freezer:Buy cheap ingredients in bulk and store

At the supermarket

Supermarkets are businesses. Yes, they’re there for your convenience and to sell you what you need, but they’re also there to encourage you to buy more. From the layout of the store, to the music that they play, everything is geared towards you filling your trolley with everything you need – and a few things you might not.  

To save money here, you need to:

  • Always shop with a list: If you’ve planned your menus and audited your pantry, you’ll know exactly what you need. Write it all down, and stick to it.

  • Be aware of the cost per item: Many supermarkets have leaflets they hand out with their weekly specials listed. Use these to compare prices. It may be that spending a bit more and buying the 1kg pack now will save you money in the long run. This is especially important when it comes to things like kids’ snacks.

  • Buy in bulk: Larger packages generally work out cheaper than single servings. Buy things you use all the time in bulk and use your freezer to keep perishables such as meat.

  • Think about two-for-one offers: Do you really need two of the item on special? Yes, there will be a saving, but not if it’s just encouraging you to buy more than you need.

In the future

If you have the space, it’s worth considering establishing a vegetable garden. Be aware that growing your own vegetables is not always the cheapest option, by the time you consider the cost of fertiliser, seedlings, watering, equipment, etc. 

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